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Re: GRs, irrelevant amendments, and insincere voting

On Sat, Nov 01, 2003 at 06:17:23PM -0500, Raul Miller wrote:
> There's been a lot of verbiage on this subject.
> Here's what I think you're trying to say:
> If we have a substantial block of debian voters who want to vote
> "conservatively", we will tend towards making small amounts of progress
> in many votes instead of more rapid progress in fewer votes.
> Is that a fair restatement of the issue you've been talking about?

Well, no.  In fact it's pretty much a complete digression from the point
I originally raised in this sub-thread.

If you'll look, you'll notice that the term "conservative" doesn't even
appear in that message (nor any other term or phrase that can reasonably
be interpreted to mean "conservative", AFAICT).

It does appear in my reply to the point that Sam Hartman, Richard
Braakman, and Anthony DeRobertis made, because to meaningfully reply to
their message I needed to explicate the way in which I came to look at
the problem.  (And that in turn proceeded to provoke the sort of people
who get provoked when the term "conservative" is utterered.)

But it's not my thesis.

My thesis, as I unfortunately and apparently failed to make clear in the
original post, is that, given that we view as desirable the practice of
ranking one's ballot preferences sincerely, that there is a procedural
mechanism for subverting that desirable property.

What I *attempted* to solicit commentary on was "what can we do about

The ferocity of some people's replies to my messages tells me that some
people feel the answer is "nothing", and that I should either shut up
about it because it will never happen, or possibly because it's a
technique some folks were looking forward to using.  :)

> If so, I'm not sure why this is seen as a problem -- if we have a large
> number of voters involved who want things to progress in many small steps,
> instead of fewer large steps, why is the system flawed if it reflects
> that desire?

As above, this hypothetical doesn't really have very much to do with my
point.  It is tangentially related, in that if the technique is
consistently used, and people don't adapt their voting practices to
compensate for it, that it could result in zero progress in an infinite
number of steps, regardless of the actual collective desired pace of

I raise that only for the sake of being thorough, though.  That's not a
practical fear, as long before an infinite number of votes are held ( :)
), the Project would rebel against it in some way.  Probably by amending
the Constitution or abandoning the SRD temporarily or permanently while
the system is reformed.

But I think the most likely possibility is that people would simply
adapt their voting practices in compensation.  The question that
occupies me is whether that's really a healthy thing, institutionally.
Should we, collectively, *let* insincere voting solve the problem when
a procedural remedy could be at our disposal?  If not, what should that
procedural remedy look like?

> If my restatement is unfair, perhaps you could give a clear statement
> of the problem, in terms that can't be confused with the above?

I hope the above helps.

G. Branden Robinson                |       Psychology is really biology.
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       Biology is really chemistry.
branden@debian.org                 |       Chemistry is really physics.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |       Physics is really math.

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